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PI-Submitted Research Highlights for
Terrestrial Ecosystem Science Program

The Alaska Arctic Vegetation Archive (AVA-AK)

Amy L. Breen
University of Alaska

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30 September 2016
A publically available database of vegetation data from the Alaskan Arctic tundra

The Science                       
The Arctic Vegetation Archive was developed in response to a goal set by the intergovernmental Arctic Council of eight Arctic nations to better understand the biodiversity and distribution of vegetation across the circumpolar Arctic.

The Impact
An intergovernmental partnership to compile available arctic vegetation data can be leveraged to quantify and model the biodiversity and distribution of vegetation across the Arctic, now and in the future.

Summary
The Arctic Vegetation Archive (AVA) was conceived by the Flora Group of the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), the biodiversity working group of the intergovernmental Arctic Council, with the goal of compiling available plot-level vegetation data in order to better understand the distribution of vegetation across the Arctic tundra. Each Arctic nation is tasked with developing a portion of the evolving panarctic vegetation archive. The contribution from the United States, the Alaska Arctic Vegetation Archive (AVA-AK), was begun in 2013. To date, the AVA-AK contains more than 3000 non-overlapping vegetation plots from the Arctic portion of Alaska, with geo-referenced locations and associated environmental data ranging from slope and altitude, to edaphic conditions, to plot-level microrelief. Plant species in the AVA-AK encompass both vascular and non-vascular plants, and span Arctic vegetation communities ranging from wet tundra to dwarf shrubs to alpine communities to snowbeds. The AVA-AK database is freely available through a web-based portal at the Alaska Arctic Geoecological Atlas (http://alaskaaga.gina.alaska.edu) housed at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. A preliminary cluster analysis of the data in the AVA-AK indicates the database can be used to predict patterns of vegetation composition across Alaskan tundra in relation to soil moisture and acidity, geography, and ecological affiliation. Furthermore, the data in the AVA-AK can provide a baseline of vegetation distribution across Arctic Alaska for use in terrestrial biosphere models. NGEE Arctic joined this international collaboration and contributed species and functional type cover, along with habitat and edaphic conditions, from vegetation censuses conducted during Phase 1 of NGEE Arctic at Intensive Site 1 on the Barrow Environmental Observatory in Barrow, AK. In Phase 2, NGEE Arctic will contribute data from the Seward Peninsula, AK, to help address existing gaps in the AVA-AK database (e.g., large areas of Arctic Alaska not associated with permanent Arctic observatories).   

PI Contacts
Amy L. Breen
Assistant Research Professor
Scenarios Network for Alaska & Arctic Planning
International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska
PO Box 757340
Fairbanks, Alaska 99775-7340
Phone: (907) 750-1311
E-mail: albreen@alaska.edu
Colleen M. Iversen
Senior Scientist
Climate Change Science Institute and
Environmental Sciences Division
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
One Bethel Valley Road, Bldg. 4500N
Oak Ridge TN 37831-6301
Phone: (865) 241-3961
iversencm@ornl.gov

Contacts (BER PM)
Daniel Stover and Jared DeForest
SC-23.1
Daniel.Stover@science.doe.gov (301-903-0289) and Jared.DeForest@science.doe.gov (301-903-1678)

Funding
Data collected by Sloan et al., 2014 were funded as part of the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiments – Arctic project by the Biological and Environmental Research program in the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The AVA-AK was funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment.

Publications
Walker DA, Breen AL, Druckenmiller LA, Wirth LW, Fisher W, Raynolds MK, Šibík J, Walker MD, Hennekens S, Boggs K, Boucher T, Buchhorn M, Bültmann H, Cooper DJ, Daniëls FJA, Davidson SJ, Ebersole JJ, Elmendorf SC, Epstein HE, Gould WA, Hollister RD, Iversen CM, Jorgenson MT, Kade A, Lee MT, MacKenzie WH, Peet RK, Peirce JL, Schickhoff U, Sloan VL, Talbot SS, Tweedie CE, Villarreal S, Webber PJ, Zona D. 2016. The Alaska Arctic Vegetation Archive (AVA-AK). Phytocoenologia, DOI: 10.1127/phyto/2016/0128.
Sloan, V.L., Brooks, J.D., Wood, S.J., Liebig, J.A., Siegrist, J., Iversen, C.M. & Norby, R.J. 2014. Plant community composition and vegetation height, Barrow, Alaska, Ver. 1. Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory [Next Generation Ecosystem Experiments Arctic Data Collection], Oak Ridge, TN, US. DOI: 10.5440/1129476.

Related Links
http://alaskaaga.gina.alaska.edu
http://ngee-arctic.ornl.gov/
http://www.givd.info/ID/NA-US-014
http://vegbank.org
http://above.nasa.gov

Data collected by Sloan et al., 2014 were funded as part of the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiments – Arctic project by the Biological and Environmental Research program in the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The AVA-AK was funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment. 

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